Home » Guides » Best Laptop for Streaming in 2020

Best Laptop for Streaming in 2020

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

The streaming industry has grown, competition has become fierce and now streaming platforms are investing heavily in producing better quality content. High-quality content means faster streaming speeds, higher resolutions, better audio quality and so on. In this case, low-end laptops don’t cut, you need the best laptop for streaming that can comfortably handle some hardcore binge-watching marathons.

The problem is, getting the right laptop for streaming is not easy. There are a lot of features you need to consider before buying one. Don’t worry, we specifically prepared this guide to help you buy the top laptops for streaming.

Our Top Laptops for Streaming

If you are fed up with downloading large files and just need a laptop for hassle-free content streaming, the following recommendations are for you. We did exhaustive research to ensure that our recommendations cater for different needs and budgets

Brand
Best Overall
Acer Predator 17
Best for the Money
HP Omen 15 (2018)
Best Cheap Pick
Acer Nitro 5 AN515
Product
Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce...
Omen by HP 2018 15-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel...
Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Laptop: Core i5-8300H, 15.6inch...
Processor
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
16 GB DDR4
32 GB SDRAM
8 GB DDR4
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Acer Predator 17
Product
Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce...
Processor
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
16 GB DDR4
Rating
Best for the Money
Brand
HP Omen 15 (2018)
Product
Omen by HP 2018 15-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel...
Processor
2.8 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
32 GB SDRAM
Rating
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Acer Nitro 5 AN515
Product
Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Laptop: Core i5-8300H, 15.6inch...
Processor
2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB DDR4
Rating

Best Overall Laptop for Streaming: Acer Predator 17 

Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce...

It’s not hard to tell why the Acer Predator 17 is a great laptop for streaming. The design is stunning and reminiscent of a laptop built for performance. It looks like Acer put a lot of thought into the Predator 17’s design in an attempt to please gamers and video streamers. From the big bezels, giant speakers and an interesting keyboard, it’s clear right off the bat that this Acer model is ready to take on any performance challenge.

However, while its looks are easy to fall for, the 9.26 lbs weight and 400mm thickness might be a deal-breaker. This makes the Acer Predator 17 an unnecessarily heavy and bulky laptop. For this reason, it’s a better model for indoor streaming and not for travelers.

If you are willing to look beyond the outright lack of portability, you will find the Predator 17 a sturdy performer packaged in a generous metal chassis. There are plenty of options for peripheral connections. These include four USB 3 ports, a USB-C port, HDMI and SD card reader.

Since streaming can cause some massive heating in your device, the Acer Predator 17 comes with an advanced cooling system. For instance, there is an extra fan dubbed ‘Frost Core’ that you can replace with the Blu-ray drive if you need extra cooling. This will come in handy considering the rigorous performance expected from the CPU and GPU while streaming.

If you are not planning on using headphones when streaming video and audio content, you will find the gigantic speaker system a welcome addition. The system dubbed ‘SoundPound’ is made up of four speakers and two subwoofers to produce unparalleled audio output. The audio will be loud enough to drown the noisy cooling fans. Although the SoundPound is good enough, we don’t recommend that you use it as a replacement for a dedicated sound system.

We found the keyboard quite adventurous. It’s a fully backlit RBG keyboard with five programmable macro keys lined along the sides. There’s a software called PredatorSense which FPS gamers will find pretty cool. It allows you to create color patterns that match the control schemes of a specific game.

Although we love that the 17.3-inch display comes with a Full HD resolution, it is a bit disappointing that it doesn’t feature any significant changes from the previous models. We would expect this model to have 4K resolution for the best streaming performance. However, the big screen and inclusion of G-sync technology make up for this. You will still get a fulfilling Full HD streaming.

Specifications

  • Display: 17.3inches 1.920 x 1.080 pixels
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700HQ
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD / 1TB HDD
  • Weight: 9.26 pounds
  • Size: 16.6 x 12.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Ports: 4 USB Ports
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac

Pros

  • High-quality Full HD display
  • Impressive design
  • Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
  • Good audio output
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Heavy and bulky build
Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce...
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM

Best Streaming Laptop for the Money: HP Omen 15 (2018)

Omen by HP 2018 15-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel...

If you want a laptop that packs features as good as those of the Acer Predator 17 with a more forgiving price, the HP Omen 15 will be a perfect fit. In fact, the HP Omen is better than the Acer Predator 17 in some areas. For instance, it’s way lighter and packs more SSD storage than the Predator 17. 

The HP Omen 15 offers competitive streaming performance. It runs on a 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics for high-quality image output. This makes it a good option for both gaming and video streaming. 

Besides, the 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage will boost its performance speeds to ensure a painless streaming process. The best part is, you can upgrade the RAM to 32GB if you need faster speeds.

For live game streaming, the RTX graphics in combination with a powerful chipset, high refresh rate and such technologies as programmable shaders, real-time Ray tracing, and AI optimization will ensure a blur-free streaming experience. You can also utilize external GPU using the Thunderbolt 3 port. 

The overall build quality is sturdy and although it’s lighter than the Acer Predator 17, we think it is still a bit bulky. It is 20mm thick and weighs 5.11 pounds. The plastic and aluminum combo brings out a clean and durable chassis. 

This 2018 model has a dual-hinge design that has been replaced by a central hinge in the 2019 model. The 15.6-inch display has a Full HD resolution, IPS technology, and a 144Hz refresh rate. This will ensure smooth gameplay and streaming experience. The display has smaller bezels than that of the Acer Predator 17. 

While the powerful performance might result in overheating, the HP Omen 15 has a reliable thermal system to take care of this problem. That being said, you might still feel some heat while streaming especially if you put the laptop on your lap. 

Specifications

  • Display: 15-inch 
  • CPU: Intel i7-8750H Processor
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • RAM: 16GB, Upgradable to 32GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 5 pounds 
  • Size: 10.3 x 14.2 x 1 inches
  • Ports: headphone/Microphone combo, Microphone jack, 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (side), 1 RJ-45 (rear), 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (rear), 1 HDMI 2.0 (rear), 1 Mini DisplayPort(tm) (rear), 1 USB 3.1 Type-C(tm) (rear), 1 media card Reader

Pros

  • Smooth gaming and streaming performance 
  • Sturdy build quality 
  • Impressive design 
  • Good quality stereo speakers 
  • Crisp display 
  • Comfortable full-size keyboard
  • USB Type-C charging

Cons

  • Poor thermal performance
Omen by HP 2018 15-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel...
  • Cutting-edge gaming performance: play The latest games, including Fortnight, PUBG, and Overwatch,...
  • Super Fast Processor: 8th Generation intel(r) core(tm) i7-8750H Processor, 6-Core, 2.2GHz up to...
  • Beautiful graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8 GB GDDR5 dedicated). 15.6-Inch diagonal FHD IPS...

Best Cheap Laptop for Streaming: Acer Nitro 5 AN515 

Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Laptop: Core i5-8300H, 15.6inch...

You don’t necessarily have to blow your budget to buy a good laptop for streaming. Although we recommend high-end features for smooth performance, it is only fair that we have something for people on a budget. In this case, we recommend the Acer Nitro 5 AN515.

The Acer Nitro 5AN515 is an award-winning design-conscious laptop for people who want to stream high-quality content without breaking the bank. Although most of Acer’s gaming laptops are pricey, this one manages to pack plausible features for a lenient price tag. 

Like most budget laptops, there is nothing particularly outstanding about the Acer Nitro 5. While it’s got a killer design, you will have to sacrifice most of the powerful features found in other high-end options. We only recommend this laptop for medium gaming and slightly above average video streaming. 

While this model can breeze through YouTube videos and podcasts, it lacks enough firepower for hardcore games and performance-reliant video streaming. The build quality is also underwhelming and it may not win any durability awards. 

Despite its glaring deficiencies, the Nitro 5 still has a few things to be admired for. For example, we found the dual-fan cooling system handy. The keyboard is also comfortable although the touchpad is not as responsive as we would have expected. The display is good enough for this price point and the battery life is decent. 

While intense content streaming might bring this laptop to its knees, that is not to say this model is entirely useless. The performance is decent enough and it should be able to handle most video streaming. An Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics and 8GB of RAM is not a combination you would want to look down upon. There is even an extra RAM slot in case you want to upgrade in the future. 

This is a fair enough compromise for a huge price drop. The 256GB of SSD storage should be enough for medium performance and streaming on YouTube and Twitch. We also love the display. Full HD resolution for a budget device is a great choice. While you won’t get a high-quality color gamut, this is not something you should worry about. However, LCD and Acer’s ComfyView technologies should significantly boost display performance. 

Finally, the full-size red-backlit keyboard completes the sleek design. It’s comfortable to use and the keys have satisfying spacing and travel distance. 

Specifications 

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) Acer ComfyView (IPS LED) LCD
  • CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H (quad-core)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD
  • Weight: 6 pounds 
  • Size: 15.35 x 10.47 x 1.05 inches
  • Ports: Ports: 1 x USB Type-C, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, HDMI port, SD card reader, Ethernet (RJ-45) port, 35mm headphone jack, Kensington lock slot
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth

Pros

  • User-controlled fans
  • Decent battery life
  • Good streaming performance for a small price
  • Good display
  • Plausible design
  • Comfortable keyboard 

Cons

  • Bulky display bezel
Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Laptop: Core i5-8300H, 15.6inch...
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H mobile processor (2.30GHz, up to 4.00 GHz, 4 cores, 8M Cache)
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H mobile processor (2.30GHz, up to 4.00 GHz, 4 cores, 8M Cache)
  • 8GB DDR4 SDRAM (expandable to 32GB); 256GB Solid State Drive

Best Durable Laptop for Streaming: Acer Predator Helios 300 

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6'...

We recommend the Acer Predator Helios 300 for streamers who value durability above everything else. The metal chassis in a gun-metal finish readies the Predator Helios 300 for any kind of abuse. It has tapered edges, black color with red accents and geometric cuts to nail its design. 

There is a host of peripheral connectivity options. You will get 4 USB ports, that is, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and USB 3.1. There is also an HMDI port, headphone jack, SD card reader and an Ethernet port. 

While this laptop looks bulky, it’s actually lighter than the Acer Predator 15 and HP Omen 15. If your model comes with a hard drive, it might be a bit heavier than those missing hard drives. 

The Full HD display will likely blow you out. The bezels are thick but not glaringly so. The display’s true-to-life color reproduction makes it a perfect choice for video and game streaming. 

While most budget gaming laptops rarely come with a 144Hz refresh rate, this one does. This model is way better than the 2017 model which had a poor refresh rate and a bit of blurring especially when gaming.

We think there is a lot of room for improvement in the audio department. There are two sets of speakers but the audio output is subpar at best. As a result, you may find the laptop’s sound dull and hollow, especially when streaming movies. The only way around this is to use headphones or invest in peripheral speakers. 

The Predator Helios 300 is a competitive performer. Powered by an 8th generation Intel Core Processor with help from 16GB of RAM and a dedicated graphics card. You will also get a decent battery life both when streaming and gaming. 

The cooling system is slightly flawed and the laptop might overheat while streaming. This might, in turn, affect the image quality. We recommend that you turn on CoolBoost and set the fan to the maximum to prevent this. 

Specifications

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD
  • CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (Hexa-core)
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 5.95 pounds
  • Size: 15.4 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.1, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, HDMI 2.0, RJ-45 Ethernet, SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth

Pros

  • Impressive design 
  • Powerful performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate 
  • Reliable display 

Cons

  • Poor cooling system results in overheating
  • Subpar sound quality 
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC, 15.6"...
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7 9750H 6 Core Processor (Up to 4.5GHz) with Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Graphics with 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
  • 15.6 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Display (144Hz Refresh Rate, 3ms...

Best Designed Laptop for Streaming: Razer Blade Pro 17 

Razer Blade Pro 17: Gaming Laptop - 120Hz Full HD...

Most powerful laptops have everything you need except a design to be proud of. The Razer Blade Pro 17 gives you all the performance juices plus a look to die for. The 17-inch sports a sleek and thin design with a durable aluminum chassis. This makes it a great choice for those looking for a killer design, durability, and portability. 

Before you actually start using it, it is hard to associate the Razer Blade Pro 17 with powerful performance. It looks like the kind of laptop made to show off rather than performance. However, a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics make for a formidable set of internals. 

The black anodized aluminum brings out an attractive obsidian finish in a retro-boxy design. Despite weighing 6 pounds on paper, the blade Pro 17 is actually lighter than you expect. It’s only 0.8mm-inch thick which means you will be seeing a sleek and fairly portable design. 

There are plenty of ports for external connections. You will get three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a USB-C port, an SD card reader, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, a headset jack and a 2.5GB Ethernet Jack. 

The 17.3-inch display is impressively big, fast and beautiful. While we don’t expect anything less from a Full HD display, the Blade Pro surpassed our expectations. The 144HZ refresh rate coupled with bold colors makes this a perfect fit for streaming. It is a close competitor of the Acer Predator 17 so if you are looking for a cheaper option with a few subtle compromises, you will find a great deal of value in this model. 

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU is built for gaming and streaming. It’s less noisy and consumes less power which partially takes care of heating problems. Despite that, they are still powerful enough to provide high frame rates while gaming.

Unlike the Acer Predator Helios 300 above, the Razer Blade Pro 17 has a contenting sound quality. You won’t feel the need for headphones or external speakers while streaming and watching movies or listening to music, thanks to the mounted pair of speakers. 

You will find the island-style keyboard on the Blade Pro a welcome comfort. The keys are well-spaced with decent travel distance. The Chroma lighting provides an enchanting sparkle of color to keep you motivated as you hit the keys. 

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is also a performance powerhouse with surprising command on multitasking. You can open more than 20 tabs while streaming and not experience any lags in performance. This means you can stream from different services such as YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, Smashcast, and Mixer at the same time. Thanks to the 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor and 16GB of RAM. 

The battery life is decent based on gaming laptops’ standards and the heating problem has been fairly taken care of by an ingenious cooling system which includes a full vapor chamber. 

Specifications 

  • Display: 17.3-inch, Full HD
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H (Hexa-core)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 6.06 pounds 
  • Size: 15.55 x 10.24 x 0.78 inches
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 (USB Type-C), 1 x USB 3.2 + Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C), 3 x USB 3.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, headset jack, 2.5Gb Ethernet LAN, UHS-III SD card reader
  • Connectivity: 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Powerful performance
  • Decent battery life
  • Good display 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No Core i9 processor 
Razer Blade Pro 17: Gaming Laptop - 120Hz Full HD...
  • 17.3 inches Full HD IPS display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Built in 70Wh rechargeable lithium ion polymer battery; Quad Core 7th gen Intel Core i7 processor
  • VR Ready with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics

Best Portable Laptop for Streaming: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 

MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 15.6' 144Hz 7ms Ultra...

MSI including the word ‘Thin’ in the MSI GS65 Stealth’s name is an accurate description of what this laptop is. You won’t be able to tell the difference in weight between the MSI GS65 Stealth and slimmer models like the Macbook Air until you take them to the weighing scales. 

We recommend this laptop for streamers looking for portability and unwilling to sacrifice important features. Although MSI is a known brand in the gaming industry, they are not exactly known for rakish designs or portability. While most of their laptops are well designed for the road, the GS65 Stealth takes things a notch higher. 

Good looks are not the only thing this laptop has to offer. Beneath the obsidian metal cover is a powerful 3.9GHz Intel Core i5 processor ready to take any streaming process head-on. The GPU works in combination with 16GB of DDR4 RAM with a 2400MHz processing speed. On the other hand, the 256GB SSD storage has a read-write speed of 3000MB/s. The overall performance is fairly decent and there will be few huddles while streaming. 

The DDR5 Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics will help you enjoy more vivid images both when live streaming a game or your favorite movie. The Cooler Boost Trinity technology ensures that excessive heat is not produced when the laptop reaches its full performance. Most of our recommendations only have dual fans but the GS65 Stealth comes with 3 plus 4 heat pipes. While this does not fully eliminate heat when streaming, it helps to significantly keep it down. 

Specifications 

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD
  • CPU: 3.9GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (quad-core)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 4.14 pounds
  • Size: 14.08 x 9.75 x 0.69 inches
  • Ports: USB 3.1 Gen2 x 3, Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), mini DisplayPort, HDMI-out, RJ-45 Ethernet,
  • Connectivity: Killer N1550 Combo 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2×2 MIMO); Bluetooth 5.0

Pros

  • Attractive design 
  • Beautiful and fast display 
  • Impressive performance
  • Effective thermal system

Cons

  • Poor audio
Sale
MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 15.6" 144Hz 7ms Ultra...
  • Display: 15.6" FHD, 4.9mm Ultra Thin Bezel Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 144Hz 7ms 72% NTSC 1920x1080...
  • Processor: New Intel Core i7-8750H 2.2 - 4.1GHz (6 Cores)
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 6G GDDR5

Best Display: Asus ROG Strix SCAR II GL504GV 

Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17” 144Hz...

The Asus ROG Strix SCAR II shares a price tag with the Razer Blade Pro 17. They also share some features. For instance, they have the same display refresh rate, processor and RAM. However, the ROG Strix SCAR II takes the lead when it comes to displaying performance. 

The general design does not stray too far from gaming laptops’ standards. It is beautiful and business-like with a sturdy and durable build. The brushed aluminum finish on the lid stands out giving the laptop a premium touch. Instead of blocking the air vents and contributing to overheating, the lid is designed to allow for sufficient ventilation.

The general design will easily appeal to veteran games. However, if you are looking to stream or play on the go, you might have to consider our portable recommendation; the MSI GS65 Stealth. Otherwise for memorable streaming, the ROG Strix SCAR II will be anything but disappointing. 

Asus also invested heavily in the design of the keyboard. The base has a beautiful carbon fiber pattern with an overlay of a camouflage pattern. It is smudge-proof and comfortable to use. Like most gaming powerhouses, the keyboard wouldn’t have been complete without the glamorous RGB backlighting. You can customize the lighting on the keyboard, logo, and the color bar to your liking thanks to the Aura Sync lighting.

The 17.3-inch Full HD IPS panel has a refresh rate of 144Hz with extremely slim bezels. It is also anti-glare making it a safe option for people who stream for a long time. This feature ensures that there is as little as possible reflection on the screen. You will love the accurate color reproduction and vivid visuals as you stream. 

Any in-game motion blur is killed off by the 3ms response time and the 144Hz refresh rate. While you might be put off by the thick chin beneath the screen, it’s unlikely that it will bring many obstructions while streaming. 

The SCAR II runs on an Intel Core i7 processor with upgraded NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. This, coupled with 16GB of RAM, 256SSD and 1TB SSHD makes it a competitive performer. 

The powerful six-core processor provides a significant boost to performance making streaming a harmonious process. The NVIDIA graphics help to bring visuals to life especially when gaming.

HyperCool Pro technology is used to curb heating issues. The thermal system has two 12V fans, an anti-dust system, and three air outlets. There are different modes for the fans which you can set depending on the kind of work you are doing. For example, you can use the Silent mode for basic tasks like browsing and reading, Balanced mode for medium tasks and the Gaming mode for streaming or gaming. 

The HyperStrike Pro keyboard is not one that you see every day on a laptop. In fact, you would be comfortable with a mechanical keyboard and yet Asus wanted to spice things up a bit. The chiclet-style keyboard has a gap between the functions keys that help you easily identify the keys. If you have been typing for long enough you might find this irrelevant. The space bar has been refurbished and the arrow keys are separated from the rest.

Specifications 

  • Display: 17.3 inches, Full HD 
  • CPU: 3.9 GHz Intel Core i7
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Weight: 6.5 pounds
  • Size: 15.7 x 10.7 x 1 inches

Pros

  • Snazzy design 
  • Crisp display with 144Hz refresh rate
  • Powerful graphics 
  • Long battery life 
  • Powerful overall performance 

Cons

  • Odd camera placement
Asus ROG Strix Scar II Gaming Laptop, 17” 144Hz...
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
  • Intel Core i7 8750H Hexa Core Processor
  • 144hz 3ms 17.3” FHD (1920x1080) IPS Type display

What Makes a Good Laptop for Streaming

When it comes to streaming, just any other laptop won’t cut it. There are a few features that make a laptop streaming-compliant. These include CPU, GPU, display, RAM, storage, battery life, size and so on.

GPU

GPU is vital when you are streaming videos and games. The Graphics Processing Unit helps your laptop to output high-quality images at a faster rate. There are two types of graphics; dedicated and integrated.

For hardcore live gaming and video streaming, we recommend using a dedicated or discrete graphics card because they are more powerful than integrated ones. A good example of dedicated graphics is the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card. It can comfortably handle AAA games and high-quality video streaming.

Man playing on gaming laptop

For basic gaming and video streaming, some integrated graphics may be able to handle the data flow. For example, if you are watching videos on YouTube, you don’t need powerful graphics. Integrated GPU like the UHD 620 will be able to get the job done.

CPU

A laptop’s CPU plays a pivotal role when it comes to streaming. In this case, we recommend that you look beyond raw power and clock speed. For lightweight gaming and video or audio streaming, you don’t need a beefy CPU. However, if you are streaming at say 1080p, you will need a powerful processor for a seamless stream.

Streaming requires that you run multiple applications concurrently which is why performance speed is crucial. Choosing a good CPU for streaming is easy, you simply go with the bigger number. For example, a Core i9 is better than a Core i7 which is better than a Core i5. The same goes for clock speed. That is, 3.3GHz speed is better than 2.2GHz. Keep in mind that better means pricier.

So, if you want flawless streaming performance, you will have to spend more on the processor. Don’t forget to check the number of cores. For better streaming, aim for at least a quad-core. Dual-cores may handle low-quality YouTube or Twitch videos. You can also listen to music and podcasts. For advanced gaming and video streaming, stick to quad-cores and higher.

RAM

Like we already mentioned, live streaming requires multiple applications to run at the same time. This means that a lot of pressure will be put on the Random Access Memory to ensure a flawless stream of data. Just like with processors, more RAM means better streaming performance.

Currently, RAM capacities range from 4GB to 32GB. For streaming, we recommend 8GB and 16GB depending on your budget. 32GB is a bit too much and comes with ridiculous prices so unless you really need it, there is no need to blow up your budget. In case you are wondering, 4GB is out of the question.

8GB is fine but you might run into problems with AAA game streaming. In this case, 16GB or 32GB will be a good option.

Storage

Since you won’t be downloading any content, you may think that storage capacity is inconsequential. The truth is, SSDs and HDDs don’t take an active role in streaming but they are very important for general laptop performance.

Lucky for you, modern laptops with huge RAM storage automatically have more disc storage. Generally, we recommend SSDs since they are faster than HDDs. However, they are expensive and might not be a good choice for budget gamers or video consumers.

If you go with HDD storage, expect slower performance and make sure that it is at least 1TB. For SSD, anything from 500GB is good to go.

Size 

If you are looking to stream on the go, you will need a portable laptop. This might present a conflict of interest especially when you want your laptop to have a big screen and be portable at the same time. Bigger screens offer the best streaming experience and it is possible to get a laptop that is both big and lightweight. However, if you are looking for a backpack friendly laptop, you will want to stick to 14-inches and below.

For lively streaming on a bigger screen, we recommend 15-inches and above. We are big fans of powerful 17-inches. Our Razor Blade Pro recommendation is both big and lightweight. We believe it is the best option for people looking for the right balance between size and portability.

Youtube page on laptop's browser

Display

For memorable video and game streaming, a good display is a must. In particular, you will need a higher resolution for top quality output. Whether you are watching movies on Netflix or live streaming a game, a good display will be the difference between memorable streaming and one you can’t wait to get over.

We generally recommend 1080p display resolutions. If you are willing to spend more, a 4K resolution would be awesome. While touch screens also offer good user experience especially when it comes to interacting with the display, you don’t really need them. They are more expensive and mean on the battery so unless you are super-used to them, don’t bother.

Look out for screens that support AMD FreeSync or Nvidia G-Sync. These technologies ensure that you get good image quality even when the rate of data streaming is faster than the screen’s refresh rate.

Conclusion 

If you had problems buying the best laptop for streaming, this guide should set you on the right path. Depending on your budget and preferences, the laptop you settle on will affect your streaming experience. We spent a lot of time researching these laptops so that you won’t have to. Hopefully, this will help you get a laptop that will make your streaming as painless as possible.